Today Capitalism is generally accepted as the only viable socioeconomic system in spite of the stress, moral decay, drug abuse, and crime it fosters. Peeters shows that, before entering the present Materialistic Phase, Western society went through two other phases, the Religious and the Militaristic-Nationalistic Phase. He argues that current social problems arose because the behavior of most people was no longer determined by the laws of Church and State, but instead by the need to be productive and the desire to acquire money and material goods.
Peeters shows that Materialism is, however, not the ultimate stage of development of society. A comparison of the three phases and Communism—a rival form of materialistic Phase—shows that Western society is going to enter a Fourth Phase, which Peeters asserts will occur around 2050.
Peter Peeters, The Four Phases of Society: Where Are We Going in the 21st Century?. Praeger, 1998.